Interview: PAWS talks US touring, working with Mark Hoppus & new music!
There’s this great older couple in Boston who I like to call my spirit guides for everything cool coming over from the UK/Scotland and one band that they just would not stop telling me to listen to over and over again was Glasgow’s PAWS. So when the band finally came back around to Great Scott recently to tour their latest record, I knew I had to jump on the opportunity to sit down with lead vocalist Phillip Taylor.
And what a great time to do this interview as coming over to the US to tour this record has been a huge priority for Taylor. And now that the weight is lifted off his shoulders, it’s time for the band to get on to their next record which is great news for fans of the band. Find our chat below and watch out for this talented band to be back in the states!
You’re doing this full US headlining run, how has it been going so far?
It’s been really sick, really good. We’re out with Dude York, a band from Seattle, who have joined up with us to do this co-headline. We have a lot of mutual friends with them that we know from playing with them and their friends’ bands so we’re all really excited to get together and actually do a tour so it’s really fun so far. Shows seem to be getting better and better every night. I’m going to try to not lose my voice singing all these songs every night.
And the last record is just about the one year mark. I know that’s something you had been working on for a while. Worked with Mark Hoppus on it, maybe how was that experience, as someone who obviously gets what it’s like to be a musician?
It was great. It was slightly, I wouldn’t say intimidating at first but it was something I was very nervous about because Blink was actually the first show I ever went to when I was fourteen years old. I went to see Blink 182 play in Glasgow in this huge arena. Going to that and being like, woah I want to do that. It was what I wanted to do, on that kind of level but I knew I wanted to play music for friends and stuff so it was pretty cool that we came together. It somehow happened really naturally. We didn’t like hunt him down or anything. He had just come to realize that he had an appreciation for our band, he was a fan and then I just kind of started talking to him back and forth, got to know him. We were talking about what we had coming up next. We didn’t know what we were doing next but we wanted to record an album. I thought it would be fun if he could help by like doing a song or something like that. He was like who’s your producer and when we were like well we don’t have one, do you want to do it? He was like yeah, sure that sounds fun. Was really so cool. It was kind of overly casual really. He came to Glasgow, we recorded drums there. Then we went to a spot that he has in the South of England and did the rest of it in very much DIY in his space that he has.
So he came over there to do it? It’s not like you came out to California.
No we didn’t go to LA or anything like that. He used to live in London for a couple years and still has a spot. It was really quick. We worked really hard for like a week on it. Just got it done very, very easily. He just really pushed us to be the best we could possibly be. For me singing, I’ve always been a big fan of his lyrics, his melodies. Josh was like I really need to be good because this guys’ drummer is the best drummer in the world, Travis Barker. Then obviously, my ex bass player Ryan at the time was like okay he plays bass I need to be really good here. Grew up playing this guys’ bass lines then have to play mine right in front of him. It was intense but it was all great fun. Very professional. Also just a great guy to hang out with.
Then speaking of that, I know it came out in June of last year. It was the third record for PAWS. Is this something where you’re currently working on a new record considering how long it takes to get a record out or is that still something in the future?
Well I’m always writing songs when I can. I’ve worked really hard on trying to secure us coming back here to do a tour for the album. It has been a long minute since we’ve been back here. This tour is actually giving the songs a fresh piece of life because we haven’t played the songs in the US yet. So that’s been refreshing. I’ve just spent a lot of time since the album came out just trying to get us back here. Just from fans helping us book shows and friends helping out. I think after this tour, we’ll start kicking around new songs but I’m always writing lyrics and bringing together them with any riffs I can come up with. We write fairly quickly to be honest so once we get back, we’ll start figuring out what we want to do next. There will definitely be a new album in the works in the next year for sure, next six months probably.
Just for you the focus has been coming back to the US?
To have this US tour done it just felt like a huge relief. We dedicated so much time in coming out to America to promote the last two. I was upset we hadn’t come back to do it yet so I couldn’t really move on until we had been back to do this. To support the record here, present it here. So we got some US Visas so we’ll be back over the next year I’m sure now that we have those. I would ideally like to write a new record in between tours and maybe try to put together some of it over here before the tour starts. That’s what we did with the second album. We worked on it in a studio in upstate New York then went out on tour. So be in the studio, record the album then go straight out and test the songs on people. I would like to do that again but we’ll see how it fits.
Then maybe kind of to end it off, you talked about how you worked so hard to be able to get back over here. I’m sure it’s hard to make it work but it just seems so common for bands to come over here but it’s getting more and more expensive.
It really is.
Maybe advice to bands in regards to US touring? Do you think they should wait more to come over here, advice to bands that haven’t made the jump yet.
The main thing is making sure that you have reasons to come over here. Make sure that you can have a lot of blogs writing about your band as possible. Have someone booking shows for you that you know you can trust and that you know can make it possible to do the tour financially. And if doing a DIY tour, it’s important that you’re just making sure you’re working with the people who are getting your music and read where your music does well. Be careful about picking cities you’re going to play instead of just blindly playing a show and go in there and not know what it’s going to be like. I guess just try to work closely with the tour as it’s being planned. Research what certain music communities are like, stuff like that. Just do your research and not just dive right in because we’ve definitely done like toilet tours. Touring in small bars so it’s definitely worth like doing your research before just booking any old place. If you look into the places, you’re going to be excited to play there. Like Allston is very exciting, you definitely should make sure you connect with a local band and so when you want to come back you can be like do you guys have a show we can jump on? Just try and like find the good communities and just get in touch with people that might be able to relate to you and you can relate to them. Vice/versa and stuff. Figure out what would be the best for everyone. That’s all!